Conasauga River Watershed Cleanup Honored By Confluence Award

Tuesday, April 29, 2014
Pictured from left to right, are Gretchen Lugthart and Katie Owens, Conasauga River Watershed organizers, accepting the Confluence award from Rivers Alive representative Lynn Cobb during the River’s Alive award ceremony on April 15
Pictured from left to right, are Gretchen Lugthart and Katie Owens, Conasauga River Watershed organizers, accepting the Confluence award from Rivers Alive representative Lynn Cobb during the River’s Alive award ceremony on April 15

Volunteers and stream cleanup organizers from across the state recently met in Atlanta to celebrate the accomplishments of the state’s largest volunteer cleanup program, Rivers Alive.  The Rivers Alive awards honor the efforts of individuals and groups who are working to improve Georgia’s waterways, one trash bag at a time.  Volunteers wade into rivers, lakes and coastal waters each fall as part of the continuing statewide campaign to clean and preserve more than 70,000 miles of Georgia waterways.

The Rivers Alive awards ceremony, held on April 15, at Zoo Atlanta, recognized groups of volunteers, as well as individuals and businesses for their efforts in 2013.  The Confluence award, which recognizes successful community partnerships, was awarded to organizers of the annual Conasauga River Watershed Cleanup event.  Confluence, defined as the flowing together of two or more streams, or rivers, clearly describes the coming together of local organizations for one purpose.  The members of the organizing committee for the annual cleanup are Jeff Carrier (Carpet & Rug Institute), Dirk Verhoeff (Conasauga River Alliance & Dalton-Whitfield Solid Waste Authority), Gretchen and John Lugthart (Dalton State College), Phillip Pfeifer and David Oxford (Dalton Utilities), Sandy Adams (Keep Chatsworth-Murray Beautiful), Liz Swafford (Keep Dalton-Whitfield Beautiful), Josh Smith and Dan Huser (Limestone Valley RC & D), Brenda Jackson (Murray County Extension), Katie Owens (The Nature Conservancy), and Chris Hester (Whitfield County).

“This is certainly an appropriate award for our group,” said John Lugthart, one of the organizers and a Dalton State professor of biology.  “We have a great team of people, all of whom are committed to educating our community about the importance of protecting our local streams and the Conasauga River.  We are coming up on our 20th annual cleanup and are still going strong!” 

During the 2013 watershed cleanup 258 volunteers from Whitfield and Murray Counties removed trash, debris, and invasive plants from seven sites in the two counties.  Overall, volunteers collected and removed 8,329 pounds of trash and 37 tires. 

Funding sponsors for the 2013 event included: Shaw Industries, J&J Industries, Dalton Utilities, Dalton-Whitfield Solid Waste Authority, The Nature Conservancy, and the Conasauga River Alliance. 

At the state level, during the 2013 Cleanup, 27,679 volunteers cleaned more than 1,800 miles of waterways and removed over 500,000 pounds of trash and recyclables, including car parts, grocery carts, luggage, basketballs, TVs, sinks, bicycles, tires and plastic bottles. Rivers Alive is a program of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources Environmental Protection Division. “Rivers Alive cleanups provide important opportunities for citizens to make a big difference while volunteering just a few hours of their time,” said EPD Director Jud Turner. “Citizens return home with a greater awareness of how our everyday choices impact our environment.”


Southern Adventist University Holding Land Dedication

Southern Adventist University’s large, rural campus in Collegedale recently got even bigger as approximately 250 acres on the school’s eastern boundary were donated by a local family through a land trust. Similarly, a private landowner is allowing Southern to manage an additional adjoining tract, meaning a total of 400 acres will be newly available for public recreation beginning ... (click for more)

World-Class Highliner Takes Sport To New Heights In Chattanooga

Local world-class highliner Edward Yates will rig lines of great heights on the Tennessee Aquarium peaks and then walk across them as a unique feature of RiverRocks 2014. “I have always loved the Tennessee Aquarium and this has been a dream of mine for my life,” said Mr. Yates. “There has never been an urban highline event like this before. The symmetry of the Aquarium’s ... (click for more)

Mayor Berke, Chattanooga Police Department, And Community Members Reach Out To Group Members To End Violence

The city of Chattanooga held a call-in on Thursday night, as part of the Violence Reduction Initiative. Dozens of law enforcement officials, community members, social service providers and clergy gathered to deliver a message to over 20 members of violent groups in Chattanooga. Family members of the probationers watched the call-in from another building. Although the call-in was ... (click for more)

Tribute Service For Luther Masingill Held At Historic Engel Stadium

It took a place as big as historic Engel Stadium for Chattanooga to say goodbye to their beloved Luther. Hundreds came Thursday afternoon to pay tribute to Luther Masingill who died early Monday morning after a radio career that spanned an amazing 74 years. It was clear from all who spoke that he was considered not only a radio personality, but also a role model. One after ... (click for more)

Chairs Cost How Much?

Many times while growing up, I would go to the store with my parents. More often than not, I would see something I wanted, and ask my parents to buy it for me. More often than not, they said no. “Why?” I asked. “Son, money doesn’t grow on trees.” That’s a phrase I’m sure many of us have heard more than once over the course of our lives. However, I have since learned that they were ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Pete Carroll’s Philosophy

Pete Carroll, the head football coach of the Seattle Seahawks, has a deep belief that he can change people by simply listening to them and then making suggestions on how they can get what they really want. If the people Carroll who can influence win, Carroll wins, and remember his team won last year’s Super Bowl with his methods.   When asked for example, here is what ... (click for more)